Connections celebrate shared win
SPOILS from the group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile were split between the North and South Islands when Son Of Maher and Shadows Cast deadheated in the Riccarton feature yesterday.
Rider Chris Johnson weaved his renowned magic to extricate Son Of Maher from a pocket and hit the lead in the late stages of the 1600m event before Shadows Cast and Alysha Collett fought back tenaciously as the winning post loomed.
After a tense wait, Riccarton judge Mark Gallagher announced he could not split the Michael and Matthew Pitmantrained Son Of Maher and the Shadows Cast trained by Mark Oulaghan.
That did not faze either the owners or trainers involved who embraced each other with jubilation over their shared victory.
Son Of Maher added to the already brilliant New Zealand Cup week the Pitman stable and Chris Johnson are enjoying.
Johnson won four races on day one of the carnival, while the Pitman stable won three.
The trainers and jockey combined to made it two wins in five days when the speedy Savvy Coup backed up her impressive victory on Saturday to again score decisively yesterday.
The Pitmans also won with Pipiana, who won race 1 for rider Sam Weatherly.
Weatherly went on to match Johnson and ride a treble of winners yesterday by winning with the Terri Rae trained Kolonel Kev and the Wayne Hillis trained Nothing Trivial.
Johnson’s other winner yesterday came with the Stephen Blair Edietrained Nesta.
The Riverton horseman rewarded the horse’s patient owners who went into the event having watched their horse go winless in 22 starts for six different trainers.
Patience of a different kind paid off for Wingatui jockey Corey Campbell yesterday.
The rider’s rapid career rise continued when he won his first race at a New Zealand Cup carnival aboard Lochan Ora.
Campbell, who is in redhot form having bagged his first treble at Wingatui on Melbourne Cup day, produced a patient ride after the Kelvin Tylertrained galloper was held up and desperate for racing room for the much of the home straight.
‘‘I was a bit worried halfway down the straight when he couldn’t get the gap,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘But the horse has got that really high turn of foot so if you get him to relax he will finish over the top of most horses.’’
Campbell described his first New Zealand Cup week victory as a huge thrill.
Lochan Ora was perfectly weighted carrying 50kg courtesy of the apprentice’s 3kg claim.
Runnerup Nashville, who drifted well back during the race, was back to his best in his first Riccarton start since the Grand National Carnival.
Favourite Patrick Erin was brave in third, but his 7.5kg weight disadvantage over Lochan Ora and the 2.kg he gave away to Nashville looked telling at the finish.
GRIT, determination and tender loving care were behind Carnival’s win in the group 3 Stewards Handicap at Riccarton yesterday.
The progressive Kevin and Pam Hughestrained mare won the sprinting feature with a most determined finish to overhaul leader Passing Shot in the late stages of the timehonoured 1200m event.
While on the track she is as gritty and strongwilled as any horse racing at New Zealand Cup week, away from the races she is as quiet as a lamb, Kevin Hughes said.
‘‘That is just her, yet she walks around like a kid’s pony.
‘‘But in her work she will just go with the fastest thing going. She won’t lay down’’
So determined is the mare, raced by prominent owners Don and Dame Wendy Pye, that even in the very early stages of the career she was used as a trackwork mate for the Hughes stable’s recently retired topclass sprinter Maybe Miami.
As contrasting as Carnival’s behaviour is on and off the track, so too are her legs.
Carnival relishes hard racing surfaces but, at the same time, Hughes has to wrap the horse in cotton wool to avoid soreness issues that plagued her dam, the St Petersburg mare Sinalot.
‘‘I have always been careful with her because Wendy said they had problems with her legs, so I have always tried to keep her off her legs,’’ he said.
‘‘So with her, I have always had her wrapped up.’’
Carnival faced a decent step up in class in yesterday’s race from her previous racing, but handled it with ease.
Hughes is now eyeing up the ultimate step up in class for the horse’s next longterm goal.
Carinival will be aimed at one of New Zealand’s premier sprints, the Telegraph, at Trentham in late January, Hughes said.
Earlier on yesterday’s Riccarton programme, consistent mare Heni was a brilliant winner of the group 2 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes.
Jockey Rosie Myers gave the Mike Breslintrained mare a perfect run in the oneone before she let down explosively to claim the 1400m fillies and mares’ feature.
‘‘We got a pretty good trip in transit, she jumped good, put herself in the race and was strong to the line,’’ Myers said.
Heni was a brave third in last year’s race behind the illfated First Serve.
Yesterday’s victory added to the horse’s brilliant record on the Riccarton track, which now stands at 12 starts for five wins and five placings.
Nothing in it . . . Son Of Maher (outer) and Shadows Cast cannot be separated at the end of yesterday’s group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton. Boots N All, Watch This Space (obscured) and Beefeater follow.